Learn More about Gum Disease Signs & Symptoms
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The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages.
Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Can periodontal disease be transmitted to my family members?
Periodontal disease may be passed from parent to children and between couples, according to an article in the September 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association. Research suggests bacteria that cause periodontal disease pass though saliva.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
In addition to regular dental care, thorough, daily flossing and brushing are crucial.
Which tooth brush is best?
Choose a soft-bristled brush, because hard and medium bristles can damage your gums. Your technique matters more than the tool. Our office will show you this in detail.
What’s the best floss?
Any floss you prefer, waxed or unwaxed, flavored or plain. If the spaces between your teeth are tight, you might prefer waxed floss, which is less likely to catch and fray in tight spots. If your teeth are very tight, you might like a brand such as Glide, made of a Teflon-like, shred-proof material.
What’s the best toothpaste? Does tartar-control toothpaste really control tartar?
For the moment, any fluoride paste that carries the seal of the American Dental Association (ADA) is fine. A tartar-control paste may be a good choice, but no paste controls tartar below the gum line. Brushing with any toothpaste (or even without paste) will help control tartar by removing plaque, but you will eventually need a professional cleaning. A baking soda toothpaste is as good as any other as long as it contains fluoride. The same is true of plain baking soda - a good tooth cleaner, but you should probably use a fluoride rinse along with it. Toothpastes with "natural" ingredients are okay, too, as long as they have fluoride and the ADA seal of approval. In spite of their claims, they offer no special benefits for dental hygiene.